Saturday, June 23, 2007

Home Improvements or Is it Home Maintenance

Home Improvements vs Home Maintenance

Frequently, clients note there rapid interest in the multiple shows regarding preparing a house to sell or updating a home(have you seen Design to Sell or Design on a Dime on the impressive HGTV cable channel?). HGTV and other cable channel's how to programs as well as the multiple classes provided at home improvement stores like Lowes and Home Depot provide ample and good help in knowing how to take care of or update one's house.

You really need to pay attention to all the attention given to this matter. Why is there so much information out there and always so many offers to "learn about fixing plumbing leaks" or "redesign your kitchen"? It is simple we all like to make our home's look and live better and the darn thing would fall down around us if we did maintain it.

Though you may find HGTV and such programming shows you how easy it is to accomplish any task, remember, in most cases, professionals are doing the work and these professionals have been highly screened(who would want to set up to tape a 1 hour show and have the plumber or the master carpenter show up 2 hours late?)

If you are a "good hands" person, all major projects should be done by professionals. And like all those television shows do and the Better Business Bureau and even common sense tell us, we should all check out three or four professionals, not only for the price to do the job but the references for the work done. Referrals from very satisfied friends are a great place to start...but make sure there are more happy customers. Realtors like myself, always also have tried and tested professionals to I am sure all other Realtors, the people and companies on my list count on my referrals and will lose those referrals if you or someone like you are satisfied. Yet, in summary, use professionals and make sure you know how good they really are!

Staying with the professionals hired, key questions to ask:

1. How long have you been in business?
2. What percentage of your working is doing ___________________(fill in the blank with
the task you need completed).
3. Are you licensed and insured? May I have a copy of each?
4. Do you complete the work yourself or do you use sub-contractors?
Who are your sub-contractors and tell me about your past experience with the
ones doing the type of work we look to have done?
5. How would you be paid for the work?(NEVER PAY FOR THE ENTIRE JOB PRIOR TO

Typically, a professional will seek 1/3 to 1/2 upfront if a fairly small project. If
a large project(adding on an addition), expect the schedule of payments based
on the work completed and approval by local permits department(s).

6. When will you be able to start? What is the estimated days needed to complete the
work? What challenges might you expect that may cause the project to be delayed
in startup? While in progress of completing the work.

Let's now differentiate between home improvements and home maintenance:

Home Improvements are changes to a house, townhouse or condo that marked alters the
condition and definitively improves the value of the home .

Home Maintenance are changes to a house, town house or condo that improves the condition
of the property to ensure the life span of the property is maximized.

Examples of Home Improvements are:
Adding an additional bathroom or dramatically alter an existing bath so as to update it.
Remodeling the kitchen
Adding a sunroom, screen porch or additional gargage

Examples of Home Maintenance are:
Calking around the tub or replacing damaged tub
Calking windows
Fixing leak under sink(even if you replace faucet set)
Fixing and replacing heating and air system.

Though completing all needed home maintenance may not dramatically improve the value of your house. Yet, it truly helps maintain the intrinsic value of your house as well as ensure that when it is time to sell your house that you will always sell it much quicker that a neighbor who never attends to the Home Maintenance issues.

So walk around your house, town home or condo TODAY!! Every maintence item that you find today and correct will ensure your home maintains its value and provide you a wonderful place to return after a long day at work.
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